Jurgen Klopp made a tactical change against Everton that could benefit Naby Keita. The Guinean has struggled to get into the team this season.
Klopp switched to 4-2-3-1 to face Everton in a brilliant tactical surprise. Liverpool played differently as a result, with many more players between the lines and a direct striker.
It’s been necessary to think outside of the box, too. Fabinho’s injury put extra strain on a squad that will struggle to keep up with all the fixtures this month. In short, rotation is necessary and Klopp needs to utilise his entire squad.
Keita is a part of that, obviously, and this tactical change could prove vital to getting the best of him.
For one thing, there are five midfield positions in a 4-2-3-1, rather than the three in a 4-3-3. There’s immediately more room for Keita.
Even in the deeper two midfield roles, Keita should feel more at home. Those two effectively play the same role, allowing for more freedom than the more specialised roles in the 4-3-3. That suits Keita’s box-to-box, all-around style very well.
But the formation also opens up the left-midfield slot. Rather than being a left-wing role, as we usually see from Sadio Mane, it’s more about playing in front of defenders. We saw that with Mane against Everton as the Senegalese picked up two assists and was the creative force.
We saw Keita play there last season when Klopp utilised the same system and we could very well see it again this month. It’s another way he does suit the 4-2-3-1 more than Liverpool’s usual setup.
It’s about time he found a way into the side – his £62m fee still isn’t looking like value for money. Hopefully, Klopp’s flexibility this month helps fix that.